Modular Storage Area Network (SAN) Solutions

Best Modular Storage Area Network (SAN) Solutions include:

Dell EqualLogic PS Series, HPE MSA, IBM System Storage DS5000, Dell/EMC CX4 series (Clariion), X-IO Intelligent Storage Element (ISE), Huawei Symantec OceanSpace S5000 and IBM XIV.

All Products

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Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure

Nutanix in San Jose, California offers their software-defined Enterprise Cloud as a hyper-converged infrastructure solution. The Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure solution combines the Nutanix Acropolis virtualization solution, Nutanix AHV hypervisor (though Acropolis works with other…

NetApp FAS Storage Arrays

NetApp's FAS series systems offers a storage array system for enterprises.

HPE 3PAR StoreServ

HPE 3PAR StoreServ is a flash storage option, from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.

Dell SC Series / Compellent (discontinued)

Since it's acquisition in 2011 Compellent became a Dell product line of storage solutions (e.g. Dell Compellent Storage Center). Compellent products became part of the Dell EMC SC Series of enterprise flash and SAN storage devices and are now EOL.

Dell EqualLogic PS Series

Dell's EqualLogic PS Series is a line of storage appliances, from Dell.

EMC VNX (Discontinued)

The former EMC VNX series is EOL. The vendor invites users to instead try Dell EMC's Unity series family of midrange storage appliances.


HPE MSA (modular smart array), formerly HP StorageWorks MSA, is a series of storage appliances, from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, a product line built for a modest budget, available as the HPE MSA 2052 hybrid flash array, the HPE MSA 2500 SAN storage appliance, and the MSA 1050 SAN…

StarWind SAN & NAS

StarWind SAN & NAS is an HCL-certified software-defined shared storage for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. The solution also enables the user to repurpose servers into certified backup targets if they are using Veeam. StarWind SAN & NAS, as a Linux-based VM, leverages…

Huawei Symantec OceanSpace S5000

Huawei Symantec was a joint venture disbanded in 2012; OceanSpace S5000 is a storage system developed during the venture, now owned by Huawei.

Hitachi Adaptable Modular Storage 2000 series

The Hitachi AMS 2000 series is a line of storage system.

Infortrend ESVA Storage Array

Taiwanese company Infortrend's ESVA Storage Array is an enterprise storage system.

NEC D4 Series
0 reviews

The NEC D4 Series is a storage system.

Huawei Symantec OceanSpace S6000

Huawei Symantec OceanSpace S6000 is a storage system.

NEC D8 Series
0 reviews

NEC D8 Series is a line of storage systems.

NEC D3 Series
0 reviews

NEC D3 Series is a line of storage system.

X-IO Intelligent Storage Element (ISE)

X-IO Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) is a modular scale out storage system from X-IO Technologies in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Nexsan BEAST
0 reviews

Nexsan BEAST is a storage system.

Nexsan SASBeast

Nexsan SASBeast is a storage system.

Nexsan SATABeast

Nexsan SATABeast is a storage system.

Nexsan SATABeast Xi

Nexsan SATABeast Xi is a storage system.

Nexsan E-Series

The E-Series from Imation company Nexsan is a storage system.

Nexsan Assureon

Imation company Nexsan offers Assureon, a secure storage appliance.

Fujitsu Eternus DX400 S2

Fujitsu's Eternus DX400 S2 is a storage appliance.

0 reviews

IBM XIV is an enterprise storage system.

HPE EVA P6000 (Discontinued)

HPE EVA P6000 is end of life (EOL).

Learn More About Modular Storage Area Network (SAN) Solutions

What is a Modular SAN?

A modular SAN (Storage Area Network) is a data storage system that is readily scalable, offering a flexible cost-effective approach to data storage and retrieval. Modular SANs use a building block approach, allocating storage to applications on an as-needed basis. Their architecture readily supports storage growth. Modular SANs provide user-friendly interfaces for admins that facilitate the expansion of storage capacity, which in turn reduces the need for tech support.

Modular arrays support flash storage and are physically distributed as opposed to the centralized configuration of monolithic arrays. To support resiliency, modular storage arrays offer controllers that run on separate power sources and are physically separated from the disks, so that if one fails, the other can automatically take over.

Modular SANs are 25% less costly than monolithic SANs and their setup and administration entail less overhead when compared with monolithic SAN implementations. Their capabilities are well suited for SMEs (Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises).

Modular SAN Features

  • User-friendly interfaces for admins to manage and expand storage
  • Multiple disk drives
  • Controllers
  • Redundancy
  • Power supply
  • Decentralized data stores
  • Support block-based storage and structured data
  • Support flash / solid-state drives (SSDs)
  • Fibre Channel (FC) connectivity

Modular SAN Comparison

Modular SAN vs Monolithic SAN: Your storage and performance requirements will inform your decision regarding these options. For small to medium size companies a modular SAN offers a cost-effective, user-friendly, build-as-you-grow approach to your storage needs. For large enterprise-scale operations with more demanding requirements, a monolithic SAN provides consistently reliable high performance and availability that comes with a higher cost, greater implementation complexity, and administration overhead.

New vs. Refurbished Equipment: Budget-conscious and small to mid-sized businesses may wish to consider purchasing refurbished modular SAN equipment which offers reduced costs, warranties, and easy access to replacements.

Public Cloud-based Data Storage and Service Options: Depending upon your goals and IT strategy any planned move to the cloud for data storage and data services could eliminate the need for any on-premises data storage devices.

Pricing Information

While less costly than monolithic SAN products, they cost more than NAS (Network Attached Storage) and are still an expensive purchase. Vendors will provide price quotes based on your storage and performance requirements.

Types of Disk Arrays

Since there are similarities between different types of disk arrays, here are some additional details to assist you in determining which one suits your needs.

  • Storage Area Network (SAN) arrays (monolithic SAN, modular SAN)
    • SAN is used for block-based storage and structured data
    • Connects to servers using fibre channel (FC)
    • Usually implemented for application and database servers that require predictable, low latency block I/O
  • Network Attached Storage (NAS) arrays
    • NAS is used for file storage and unstructured data
    • Connects to servers using Ethernet
    • Usually implemented for IP oriented application networks
  • SAN/NAS Hybrid
    • Protocols for block-based storage and file storage on the same system
  • Storage Virtualization

This hardware consisting of hard disk drives (HDDs), or higher-performing flash arrays / solid-state drives (SSDs) can store petabytes (PB) of data under a central management system. Disk arrays scale block or file-based storage capacity. These storage arrays manage storage more efficiently than a group of servers.

The arrays can be comprised of all-flash / SSDs, HDDs, or a hybrid combination of the two. As HDDs are less costly, they can be cost-effective for less performance-sensitive data such as backups or archived data.

Disk arrays are key components of the business storage environment offering unique designs and capabilities to support enterprise, midrange, and small businesses. Enterprise-level storage arrays are configured to manage hundreds of servers, and massive amounts of data per second. Mid or low-storage arrays are scaled to support only a few servers.

Related Categories

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a modular SAN do?

A modular SAN (Storage Area Network) offers a cost-effective, flexible approach to data storage. Using a scalable building block approach, additional storage capacity is readily deployed through user-friendly admin interfaces.

What are the benefits of using a modular SAN?

Modular SANs are flexible, scalable, cost-effective, offering better performance and dependability than NAS (Network Attached Storage) and lower costs and overhead compared with monolithic SANs.

How much does a modular SAN cost?

Vendors will provide price quotes based on your storage and performance requirements.